Jodie watched as Richard picked the joker confidently. Did he have a reason for choosing one type of card over the other? Perhaps. Did she? Yes. It was a straightforward reason that had nothing to do with the hierarchy of a deck of cards. Maybe she should have been wiser with her pick, but her reasoning left her no regrets.
When Matthias reached for the last card, Ms Leona picked up five plain paper bags from the side of her chair and placed it on the coffee table. There was a card stapled to each bag and Ms Leona waved for them to take theirs.
“Inside, you will find your uniforms; some more unsightly than others. I would like all of you to come dressed in them next week.”
Curious as to what her uniform was, Jodie took a peek. They seemed rather ordinary and nothing too unsightly. Then looking up at the rest, she held back a grin when she saw Guinevere questioning what she was holding in her hands.
“Is this… a jumpsuit? Am I supposed to wear this? This isn’t even my size.”
“Size doesn’t matter. You’re not wearing it for a fashion show. It’s just to keep you clean when you’re scrubbing the toilets,” Ms Leona replied with a smile, obviously enjoying the reaction she was getting.
Jodie quickly took another look at the clothes inside her paper bag before sighing in relief. It was not a hideous grey jumpsuit, but a grey and green shirt and pants.
“How about us?” Richard asked as he pulled out the shirt.
“The aces will be assigned to the indoor cleaning team, while the jokers will work outdoors.”
“So, this isn’t a joke?” Matthias attempted to clarify.
“Unless you think owning Skypeak is a joke, then it isn’t. Everyone has to start at the bottom, including the aces.”
Deciding there was no point at hiding her joy of having avoided the worst, Jodie smiled. Her choice of card might have been to separate herself from a particular individual, but it proved to have been the cleverer pick after all.
“It looks like us jokers won’t be getting our hands too dirty,” Richard said as he turned to Jodie.
“That, you’re right. The golf course is relatively litter free,” Ms Leona agreed, and the shock on Matthias’ and Guinevere’ faces were priceless. Zach on the other hand, did not seem to mind.
“That’s not fair,” Guinevere stated.
“Life isn’t,” Zach spoke up and Ms Leona nodded in agreement.
“Well then, I’ll see you guys next week,” Matthias said as he got up and strode out of the lounge.
Ms Leona waved for them to leave after Matthias had disappeared behind the door, and Jodie took it as her cue to not stay any longer. As she made her way into the hallway, she only had one thought in mind: grab dinner, hit the gym, and call it a day. Not once did she consider entertaining the thought of the ‘cleaning challenge’. It did not surprise her that they were given such a task, nor did she have any complaints. After all, no one said it was going to be fun and games.
Just as Jodie arrived at the clubhouse foyer, she heard someone calling her name.
“Jodie! It’s Jodie, right?” Richard asked when he finally caught up with her.
“Why?” Jodie asked in return.
“Why?” Richard wore a confused look for a brief moment before continuing, “I just thought I should at least say ‘hi’. You know, since we’re a team now.”
“We’re not a team. I doubt they’ll put us together.”
“But we’re both jokers, so…”
Jodie raised an eyebrow.
“Maybe we should exchange numbers?”
“Why?” Jodie asked again. She had no idea why Richard wanted to be friends and she certainly had no intentions of befriending him either.
“I could help you out. Give you a call when I’m done cleaning on my side. We have the same goal after all, we want to beat the aces, right?”
No, not really, Jodie thought. Matthias might be right that the whole ploy of selling the clubhouse was for show, but Jodie saw no need for competition when it was a single player game.
“Fine. I’ll give you my number then. You can call me if you need help,” Richard said as he handed Jodie his business card.
“Wow. I thought you were jobless,” Jodie said sarcastically.
“I wish,” Richard responded with a smile before hurrying to the Mercedes waiting for him.
Staring at the business card, Jodie wondered if Richard could really be of use. He was the heir to his father’s law firm and she wouldn’t mind a discount from time to time. Stuffing the card into her pocket, she carefully placed that thought at the back of her mind, reminding herself to get back to it later.
As planned, Jodie grabbed a quick meal in town before heading to the gym. She attended a Pilates class just like she did everyday, but that evening was slightly different. Right after class, she came across two individuals. One individual was standing not too far away, breaking sweat as he ran on a treadmill. When he saw her, he gave her a smile and a wave. Jodie thought it was quite a coincidence that she and Zach were actually members of the same gym.
The other individual that required her attention came in a missed call on her phone. The caller ID read ‘Wayne Whack Head’. Wayne was a long time friend, who had his name changed in her phone several times following the different seasons of their friendship. He was her best friend and was soon to be married to the janitress, Guinevere.
Jodie wondered which was more important; greeting Zach who seemed eager to question coincidences or calling Wayne to find out what he wanted. Jodie had to choose.